As a health care provider, I believe in treating the underlying cause and the truth is that often our mental-emotional issues like depression, anxiety, stress, come from us being our worse critic. I too have been my worse critic, beating myself up over my body, my work, parts of myself that I believed defined who I am. The following is a blog post about a moment of enlightenment that ultimately changed my life and how I see myself.
The following post is not a post about loving someone else, but about loving yourself, possibly the person we find the hardest to love in the world.
From the moment that we are born, we begin interpreting the world around us. We judge other’s behaviours and actions and subconsciously use those interpretations to determine whether or not our actions are accepted by those around us. We modify our behaviours, censor ourselves, build barriers around ourselves, in order to fit ourselves within this range of what’s accepted in society. We do all of this in order to feel safe, accepted and to belong, an innate survival mechanism.
Once upon a time, when I looked in the mirror, I’d subconsciously pick my features apart, my eyes, my lips, my skin, my posture, evaluating each one. My face is too round, too oval, my posture is horrible, a hunchback, my eyes don’t pop out, they look tired, my skin is horrible, I need to wear make up but I don’t want to wear makeup because that would be admitting that I don’t feel good about myself and that I should feel good about myself, yet another judgement. It wasn’t until I stopped doing this that I even realized that I was doing it. One day, looking into the mirror in the washroom of the fitness studio I go to, I noticed, “hey, I haven’t looked at my posture for awhile…” I looked at myself again, and gave myself a much deserved and overdue smile, an accepting, self-loving smile. Something had changed inside of me. I was beginning to love myself, to see myself as a whole person, rather than arms connected to a chest, a chest connected to a torso, a torso connected to two legs, two legs connected to ankles and feet and a head with a brain that I often felt inadequate and inferior to the brains of others.
I realize that these judgements about myself are likely things that only I think about. I am truly my worst critic. I hope that, like me, you will learn to accept every part of yourself, and to not see parts of you, as individual parts of yourself that can be judged and criticized but rather as part of a whole that is meant to be appreciated and that fits together. Know that, you, feeling like you want to better a part of yourself, by improving, for example, your wardrobe, trying on makeup, exercising, does not mean that you do not love yourself, but simply that you love yourself enough to see that you deserve tender, love and care.
In learning how to love myself, I think that I’ve come a step closer to learning how to love another person and hopefully finding that person. It all begins with ourselves.